‘True Blood’ Fans Get Wallets Out, Not Just Fangs, for SAG Auction

At press time, HBO’s True Blood was the clear leader among cable-show set visits up for auction on eBay to benefit the Screen Actors Guild charities and programs.

The HBO vampire show, even without an explicit meetand- greet with Anna Paquin in the package — “the show cannot guarantee that a particular actor will be present on the day of the winner’s visit” — had a high bid of $1,500 at press time. The auction ended Dec. 16.

By contrast, a lunch on the set of Comedy Central’s Workaholics set with the workaholics themselves was at $455. A chance to hear Fran Drescher in person, in a set visit to TV Land’s Happily Divorced, was at $255. (A personalized recording of her distinctive voice on your answering machine — watch out Carl Kasell — was going for $81.)

We were a bit surprised the Mad Men package of DVDs, T-shirts and a cast-signed copy of the pilot episode was only at $192.50. It was a mere $127.50 before The Wire tested the auction process — for research purposes, of course.

This was the first of three auctions to raise money for the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, which funds emergency relief, video preservation, scholarships and seminars.

Ending Sad Year, Lonergan Family Welcomes Caroline

Family and friends were deeply saddened this past April when longtime Discovery Communications and industry executive Chris Lonergan died from cancer at 54, leaving a wife, Cheryl, and two young sons, Christopher and Grant. Cheryl Lonegan was expecting at the time of his death, and on Wednesday, Dec. 5, in Annapolis, Md., she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Caroline Francis Lonergan. “Chris’s many friends at Discovery and throughout the industry celebrate this beautiful gift of life and joy for the Lonergan family,” Discovery global distribution president Bill Goodwyn said in a note to colleagues.

Anyone who would like to contribute to the children’s education trust may make checks payable to “Lonergan Children Education Trust,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, 6000 Fairview Rd., Suite 700, Charlotte, N.C., 28210. Attention: Neil Stikeleather. Or email neil.stikeleather@ml.com for more information.

Ratings Stream In For 12.12.12 Benefit Aiding Sandy Victims

The 12.12.12 concert to benefit Hurricane Sandy relief efforts (via the Robin HoodRelief Fund) was all about generating donations, tallies of which are expected to be released this week. But as of Friday (Dec. 14), viewing numbers were beginning to be assembled.

The nearly six-hour Madison Square Garden extravaganza, which ended with Paul McCartney on stage with invited first-responder guests, aired live on more than 100 outlets around the world. In the U.S., 38 channels showed it; 15 of those are Nielsenrated.

Of those 15 networks, the average live viewership was 5.192 million, making it a top-five program that night. Across those networks, 36.4 million viewers (persons 2-plus) and 25.8 million households (nearly one in four) tuned in for a portion of the concert, according to Nielsen NPOWER1 numbers released by AMC Networks Friday afternoon.

Early estimates were that the event generated more than 4.5 million streams across all platforms, ranking it among the biggest online streaming events ever, organizers said.

— Kent Gibbons

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.